Ben Higgins talks what he's learned about business since starting Generous International -- The Mahogany Workplace blog
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5 Things I’ve Learned About Starting a Business

By Ben Higgins

I started Generous International with my friends Riley Fuller and Drew Scholl about a year ago. But, before we discuss what I’ve learned so far, I want to share why I decided to leave the corporate world.

My personality is not suited for working in an office; I love interacting with others, and I struggled to sit in a cubicle for 40 hours a week. I should have known myself enough to recognize this, but I’m thankful for the experience.

Do you dream of becoming an entrepreneur?

Looking back on the past year, I’ve discovered a heck of a lot about starting a business. Here are five things I’ve learned so far: 

  1. Evaluate your passion: A good idea is not enough. You have to really believe in what you are doing. If I did not fervently believe in the Generous mission — providing the highest-quality coffee and using profits to multiply good in the world — I would not have made it this far.
  2. Hire people you like: Of course, they need to be competent and provide a valuable skill set, but I don’t want to spend long days with people I don’t like being around. I seek employees who fit the Generous culture, one of creativity, freedom, respect, and ownership.
  3. Get organized: In college, I could barely recall which assignments were due. But a young business needs an infrastructure of marketing, sales, accounting, legal, and more. I’ve had to work hard to improve my organizational management skills.Ben Higgins talks what he's learned about business since starting Generous International -- The Mahogany Workplace blog
  4. Practice listening: Craig Groeschel (check out his leadership podcast) explains great leaders are always open to learning. So I’ve focused on improving as a listener. Employees, customers,  business partners, and contractors all have excellent insight. Many of the best things I did over the past year have come from ideas that were not my own.
  5. Embrace the journey and your supporters: Getting a business to the point of financial viability takes A LOT of time. The uncertainty, long hours, and tedious work can be emotionally challenging and a bit lonely. Fortunately, I have a great Denver community that pours into me on harder days.

Being your own boss can be difficult, but it’ll change your life. I’m growing immensely with the weight of a business on my shoulders; I love cultivating my own creativity; and I get to meet and work with incredible people.

If you started a business, what kind would it be?

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